Ski jumping. World Cup on the green hill. Fantasy or trampling on tradition?

– The problem is in the power and strength of football – so said the late president of the International Skating Union, Gian Franco Casper, in 2015, when debate began about the possible conflict between the World Cup and the winter sports season. FIFA’s decision to award Qatar the right to host the World Cup will ultimately change the history of snowboarding.

Hoover was there

For the first time in the World Cup Series, players will move around on the ice surface, but land on plastic mats. This unprecedented competition will take place on November 5th. The World Cup scheduled for November-December is for the first time in charge of everything, so the FIS had to take measures that would prevent the ski jump completely under the attention of the media. Perhaps, however, had Walter Hoover still grasped the reins of the world’s leaps, such a highly revolutionary move would not have taken place. The Austrian, at least a few years ago, showed a great conservatism in this regard, which he confirmed in an interview with our portal.

Allowing people to land on plastic mats in the winter goes against the philosophy of the International Ski Federation. Ski jumping is a winter specialty and the FIS has already made it clear some time ago that competitions will be held only on ice – as far as the former World Cup manager knows. We are technically good and better prepared for such difficult situations. And winter scenery – pure white snow, blue skies, cool temperatures, beautiful nature – are the factors that make our sport so great. It is also worth noting that we have a lot, about thirty competitions planned each winter. He added that even if there aren’t a few of them, there are still enough of them to be able to fairly pick a tournament winner.

– I’m afraid that if we allow it, no one will even try to make snow on the hill, and the organizers will only follow the line of least resistance – the 2014 World Cup director explained. – At the moment, not preparing the hill may mean that you are off the calendar. This is not that difficult. You should stock up on snow beforehand, or spend three nights with frost to cover the large hill with snow. Only snow ensures that a winter sport is a winter sport. Jumping on a plastic mattress is another type of jumping.

February to November

But Hoover, with these words, did not know what would happen in the fall of 2022. Another thing is that the original plan to play the FIFA World Cup was more problematic for the International Skating Union. In 2015, it was decided that the best solution for FIFA would be to hold the World Cup in February 2022, which, in turn, would clash with another major event – the Beijing Winter Olympics.

– said the representative of the International Olympic Committee and President of the Olympic Council of Asia Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah – FIFA must be flexible, this is my advice. The Olympic Games and the World Cup are among the best and biggest sporting events in the world. I hope the football authorities will take this into account and find a solution without interfering with the second deadline.

Gian Franco Casper, then head of the FIS, had no illusions. FIFA has never listened to anyone before. Football simply has such a strong position that it does not have to pay attention to other disciplines, as he lamented in media interviews. – I wrote a letter to Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA. You used very harsh words. What was the reaction? zero. FIFA thinks they are gods, and that’s how they act too. They have nothing to do with him at all. But the problem here is not Blatter, but the power and strength of football. These people should realize that this technique is used to kill winter sports.

Fourth solution, any compromise

In the end, the World Cup was planned for November and December 2022, but perhaps it was not winter sports and the White Games that were the main and most important reason for such a decision, but the other priorities of the football headquarters. The FIS problem remains. Sandro Pertile had to find a solution and decided to start the winter season before the World Cup. – The FIS could have proposed this introduction to remote Scandinavian countries or North America – Jan Winkel, Secretary General of PZN, said recently in an interview with Sport.tvp.pl. – She could have done it on a temporary hill somewhere on the glacier, as in Soelden. But the federation knows that the fans will come to the stands here. This is critical. In the face of global warming, skiing has a choice: either go out into higher and higher mountains, or near the Earth’s poles, or shorten the season and worry about snow all the time. The fourth solution is compromise. And the November competition at Wissoua is just such a solution.

The question remains whether the Qatar World Cup ignited this unprecedented situation, or whether it was merely accelerating it. The last option seems closer to reality. The words of Sandro Bertil, said in an interview with our portal right after the end of winter, shows that the November competition in Wissoa should not be an exception, but that it may begin to set new trends. Land on plastic mats. It is an idea for a more sustainable development of our sport. We all know that the production of artificial snow is associated with high costs for regulators. The idea might be to start the season early, not finish it later – an Italian activist told us.

LGP extension

Apart from the many advantages of this solution, its disadvantages have also been mentioned. The biggest is the “betrayal” of tradition. The patron of the hill, where the historic competition will be held, Adam Maces, is deeply skeptical of the FIS idea. – They want to refer to alpine skiing, where the start of the season is in October on the Soelden glacier, and then there is a break until winter. It is not exactly the case in jumping. Landing on plastic mats? This is not winter. This is an extension of the summer Grand Prix, and not the first competition of the winter season – expresses the opinion of the Director of the Ski Jump and North Combined Coordinator of the Polish Ski Association. For a competitor, the difference in feelings is huge. The second thing is a long gap. Opening will take place the first weekend of November, and the following competitions will take place three weeks later, at the end of the last week of the month. It’s a long time.

Opinions of the skateboarding community and fans are very divided. Some see Bertil’s vision of confronting unforgiving climate change in the move, others trample on tradition. However, let us remind you that figure skating conservatives over the past decades have taken their full power against figure skating, plastic mat competitions, and women’s or V style jumps. From today’s perspective, it can be described as the development of brake jumping. Either way, the decision was made. What until recently seemed to be a complete stripping will actually pay off. Even if nature did a special trick on the Vistula and sprinkled snow in early November, it would be removed and the competition would be held on an artificial surface. There is no turning back. One can only accept it.

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